Fabrizio Ravenelli’s third hat-trick of his Middlesbrough career guided them to a 6-1 win over Derby County.
Vladimir Kinder, Craig Hignett and Mikkel Beck also got on the scoresheet for Middlesbrough.
Paul Simpson’s 90th-minute goal for Derby proved just to be a consolation.
Middlesbrough remained bottom despite victory, on 22 points, three adrift from 19th-placed West Ham United and five points from safety.
Derby were 14th on 32 points, just seven points clear of the bottom three.
Leeds United closed the gap on leaders Manchester United to four points with a convincing win over Coventry City.
Goals from Harry Kewell, Michael Bridges and Jason Wilcox at Elland Road secured the three points for Leeds, who had failed to score in their last two PL matches.
The defeat left Coventry in 14th on 32 points, while Leeds were second on 54 points.